US ISP groups appeal net neutrality court defeat

Broadband providers want additional judges to rule in the case

Trade groups representing many U.S. ISPs have filed an appeal challenging a court ruling that upheld the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules.

Trade groups CTIA, USTelecom, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and the American Cable Association on Friday asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to rehear their challenge of the net neutrality rules after a three-judge panel upheld the rules in June.

The challenge isn't to the FCC's rules prohibiting broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing web traffic, but to the agency's reclassification of broadband as a regulated, common-carrier service, the NCTA wrote in a blog post.

"We believe this action is necessary to correct unlawful action by the FCC," the NCTA wrote. "Dynamic Internet networks do not resemble or deserve to be treated like archaic telephone systems."

The appeal of the ruling was expected. “It comes as no surprise that the big dogs have challenged the three-judge panel’s decision," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in an emailed statement. "We are confident that the full court will agree with the panel’s affirmation of the FCC’s clear authority to enact its strong Open Internet rules, the reasoned decision-making upon which they are based, and the adequacy of the record from which they were developed."

A rehearing of the case would be before nine judges at the appeals court.

The FCC, in a 3-2, party-line decision, voted in February 2015 to pass the new net neutrality rules barring broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing web traffic.

The commission, in an effort to give the rules a solid legal foundation, also voted to reclassify broadband from a lightly regulated information service to a more heavily regulated telecommunications service.

In the following months, more than a dozen groups filed lawsuits challenging the reclassification of broadband.

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Grant Gross

IDG News Service
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